Transcript: Episode 34: Nature is not drab: Amanda Perry’s Palaeo Art

Listen to the live episode here.

Travis (00:26)
Science communicator and paleo artist Amanda Perry just loves bugs. And I hope you’ll love our conversation. Check out Amanda’s work through Instagram @Perryology101. That’s at P -E -R -R -Y -O -L -O -G -Y 101.

Amanda (00:44)
bugs are just weird. And I think that that is ultimately what attracts me to them. They’re so different from us and everything else out there from their adaptations to the way they look, to the way they move, to the way they even think that it’s just, it’s fascinating to me. And the fact that they gross people out, I think also encourages me to like them.

Yeah, no, they’re cool. And they are one of the animals that we still have on our planet that’s really old. They’ve been in existence for 300 million years. Some of them have been unchanged for close to 200 million years. That’s impressive.

Travis (01:28)

So scrolling through your Instagram, there’s this mix of paleo art and bug art and all sorts of really cool colorful stuff, lots of color when representing extinct animals. Do you think it’s important to show vibrancy in representing animals in general and extinct animals as well?

Amanda (01:46)

I do. I think often when we see illustrations or paintings, what have you, art forms of extinct animals and nature in general, we get a lot of drab colours, right? We get a lot of browns and blacks and greys, which are awesome. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a goth girl at heart. I love the dark stuff. But when you look at nature,

Travis (02:03)
Mm -hmm.

Amanda (02:16)
It’s not that drab, especially when we’re looking at things like birds and reptiles. These things have crazy colors. They have iridescence and their colors shift from reds to oranges. And why not utilize this in our artwork?

Travis (02:31)
you get into the sort of profession I guess or the practice of being a paleo artist and science communicator? What was your journey into that?


Amanda (02:44)
A long one. It was long one. And very windy. So as a kid, like completely dinosaur obsessed, as I think most of us in this industry are or were, and just kind of never grew out of it, just kind of evolved, I guess you could say, ha ha. And same thing with bugs, obsessed with them when I was a kid. I was one of those kids that had.

Travis (02:52)

Amanda (03:10)
those little plastic containers with the magnifying glass, and I would just scoop up ants and look at them. I didn’t have a lot of fossils in my area where I grew up. I grew up in a very small town, and so I would have to travel at least two hours to find anything related to paleo. So because of that, I felt like it’s not something that I was going to get into.

It wasn’t available to me. And also growing up in a bit of a difficult home life, I was raised by my grandparents and just didn’t have a lot of things at my disposal. So I’m like, well, what can I do? I ended up going into…

working with at -risk youth at the beginning, but that didn’t bring me the joy that paleo brings me. It’s, you know, it was something I was still kind of doing on my own. So I tried something else and I went to university and took law of all things. And that same thing, I know, I know. And then I worked in that industry for about two years, hated every minute of it.

Um, and I was, I just knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do, but I didn’t think I could do what I wanted to do. And then I ended up without a job and just kind of started applying anywhere I could. And we do have a science center where I live now. And I was like, why not? So I just threw my application in there and hope for the best. And I actually got in with our cafeteria to begin with.

And I’m like, all right, foot the door, that’s fine. And I worked in that for about a year. And then the lead staff scientists that worked with the live invertebrates and the fossils, earth sciences, anytime he would come into that restaurant, I would talk to him and I’d introduce myself and tell him how much I wanted to work in this area and just whenever he had an opportunity to give me a chance.

Travis (05:25)
Mm -hmm.

Amanda (05:26)
And luckily that’s what happened. He gave me a chance and I spent 10 years doing science communication with the science center. And unfortunately I ended up getting sick. And so I couldn’t stand very long anymore. I couldn’t lift things as much anymore. I couldn’t bend over as much anymore.

Very tired. So I had to find something else and I’ve always been an artist So I said hey, well, let’s go back to school and take some traditional art classes and see where this brings us So here I’m at now where I have this ten years of doing professional sci-comm work And then I have you know, my five years or so as a professional artist at this point So that’s where they kind of mesh

Travis (06:19)
Yeah. So lots of people nowadays do have this kind of portfolio career. What does your practice or your career look like at the moment? What do you do on a regular basis?

Amanda (06:33)
A little bit of everything. I’ve been doing a lot of science communication through Instagram, so social media, essentially. That’s kind of where I started going back into it. For the last year, it was hard for me to find my footing because I was so used to being in a traditional museum environment that I didn’t realize that I could just do science communication almost in a freelance.

type of way. So that’s the majority of my day. Then I do, I do draw and I paint, I do commissions and just practice. And using that as my form of communication too, I find that visuals are the best way for us to get our science across.

Travis (07:26)
on there is a, is a fantastic piece of makeup that you’ve put on yourself inspired by a bug. Uh, so, so tell me about that, right? So we’re mixing the color, we’re mixing the artistic practice, we’re mixing the fascination with bugs and other animals at this stage. So it’s all coming together for me.

Amanda (07:27)

Travis (07:45)
you know, do you make up it from a bug color? Where does that come from for you? How does it fit in?

Amanda (07:51)
Yeah, it’s.

I think it’s just that artistry side of me. I’m an artist in every sense of the word. So when I look at bugs in nature, I see these colours and these combinations of colours that I think people who don’t have an artistic eye really see. And I like to bring that out because I can.

I like to make people look at things in a different way. So when people look at bugs, most of the time, they think they’re gross. They’re creepy, they’re slimy, they’re dirty. And I like to say, now, wait a minute. Have you seen this? Have you seen that? Like, for example, there’s cockroaches, right? Cockroaches are one of my favorite insects on this planet. And most people give me that face.

And I tell people there’s blue cockroaches, like bright, bright blue cockroaches. There’s cool reddish fiery looking cockroaches. Cockroaches are cool. And let’s look at something besides just that creepy brown roach that Hollywood likes to put there for us.

Travis (09:10)
Yeah, sorry for giving a face. I thought I was interested I thought I was trying to I was trying to think through where this was going I didn’t realize it was a face, but It’s so Maybe something you’ve seen too often, right? That kind of reaction

Amanda (09:22)
Maybe it was your thinky face. It was a thinky face.

Well, because the majority of my time at that science center was working with live invertebrates and taking them out for people and getting people to hold them and touch them and see them. And so when you walk up beside someone with a cockroach in your hand, unexpectedly, people do this.

They think you’re crazy.

Travis (09:49)
That’s a really interesting aspect to science communication that I hadn’t thought much about actually because I tend to visit the museums where everything is dead. So…

Amanda (10:04)
Yep. And that’s what made our science center here really special is that we have live animals there. So we have live invertebrates and we also have live vertebrates. So on my floor where we had the, I shouldn’t say arthropods because we also had snails.

The cockroaches, like I mentioned, we had millipedes and mantids and all kinds of stuff. And then the floor above us had their vertebrates. So we have beavers and skunks and snakes and frogs and toads and turtles. And what also made us different, and I guess what inspires my style of communication is we were out on the floors with the exhibits talking to people.

And just not just for programming, anyone who comes into the museum gets this type of experience where we have these live scientists that say, hey, do you understand what you’re looking at? Do you understand what you’re reading? Because a lot of people don’t.

Travis (11:10)
That’s really interesting because it kind of inverts what I guess maybe what people expect right to walk in and just kind of walk around looking at the exhibits and reading the labels. But actually you have an interpreter kind of nearby, someone who can ask questions and shape things and help your knowledge grow, which is yeah, a lovely way to approach doing science. So we’re doing science education. So, yeah.

Amanda (11:36)
Yeah. Yeah, and, uh… Go ahead.

Travis (11:39)
I was going to say so When you were showing those bugs our cockroaches your favorite underappreciated bug or do you have a do you have another secret favorite somewhere?

Amanda (11:48)
Well, as far as underappreciated goes, I always go back to my cockroach. Just because they get the weirdest reaction from people.

Travis (11:52)

Amanda (12:01)
because we’re taught so much that the cockroach is this dirty animal, right? But the wild thing is there’s about 4 ,000 species of cockroach. If you can wrap your head around it.

Only about 200 of those are considered a pest that will go into your house. So that’s done a whole lot for what the common perception is of a cockroach. And their adaptations are wild and they’re still continuing to evolve. So these guys have been in their modern state since the Jurassic period. They haven’t changed much since then.

with the exception of the ones that are in our houses. So they’re starting to develop specific adaptations, say, for living in your furniture. So they’ve learned to digest things differently than their predecessors have. I don’t know. It’s fun. And tarantulas. Tarantulas are another one. Yeah, they… I had two.

for many years. And they’re another one of those creatures that people just get freaked out by because they’re big and they’re hairy and Hollywood makes them scary. They’re not at all. They can’t hurt you at all. For the most part, I shouldn’t say at all. If you’re allergic to it, yeah, you know, you can run into some problems, but

Travis (13:20)

Amanda (13:32)
For the most part, it’s like getting stung by a bee, but everyone thinks that a tarantula is gonna kill you. And never.

Travis (13:36)
They’re, you’re right. They have this kind of exaggerated physiology that it lends itself to depiction in film and things as well, which kind of, I guess, brings that negative perception forward in the public. So yeah, it’s a challenge to overcome that, right? And I guess the obvious way to do it is to put people up close and say, look, it’s fine. I’m handling…

Amanda (13:59)

Travis (14:05)
handling the creature, handling the bug or handling whatever it happens to be.

Amanda (14:09)
Yeah, yeah.

Yeah, yeah, exactly. And that, you know, I’ve been lucky enough to see people overcome these fears. I had a lady that used to come every week to see me with this tarantula, a specific one. And she told me that she wanted to get over her fear of this animal. And I worked with her every week and progressively got closer and closer and she ended up eventually holding it, which was pretty cool.

Travis (14:39)
is the way through ignorance or the way through, well, obviously the way through ignorance, the way through fear and misunderstanding. You mentioned you were a dinosaur kid. So tell me about the extinct animals, the dinosaurs, the other extinct animals that have your heart.

Amanda (14:50)
Yeah. Yeah.

So as I mentioned earlier, I was raised by my grandparents. And it was a pretty divided household. So on one hand, my grandmother, very traditional lady, girls wear dresses and play with Barbies. And then on the other side of the coin was my grandfather, who was a little bit more progressive in his thoughts and was the one to really encourage my love of dinosaurs and weird.

things in general and dead stuff. And he was a traveler. And anytime he would go somewhere, he would bring me home with a dinosaur of some sort, whether it would be a picture or a toy, something, a book. And I had bags and bags of these toy dinosaurs that he would pick up for me. And, you know, most little girls are playing with Barbies and in their little dream houses and

Travis (15:47)
I don’t think this is the book.

Amanda (16:06)
Here’s little Amanda with her Barbie houses, but have any dinosaurs live in them? So that’s where my love really got started that I remember before I started drawing. And then once Jurassic Park happened.

Travis (16:18)
Yeah, Jurassic Park’s always in there, almost always in there somewhere for people of a certain age.

Amanda (16:24)

Yeah, I tell people every decision I’ve made in my life is because of that movie.

Travis (16:30)
really accurate. And it comes up. I really do try to avoid it. People would, people wouldn’t agree. I wouldn’t, wouldn’t think that was the case, but it comes up so often. And as a huge passion of mine, it’s, it’s, but it’s always, you know, I’m interviewing someone and they’ll just say, Oh, Jurassic Park of course. But, um, yeah, but also having someone in the household who’s, who’s willing to indulge and give you the

Amanda (16:53)
Can’t help it!

Travis (16:59)
give you the toys or give you the books and, you know, maybe take you to the museums or whatever it happens to be and encourage that is also, also maybe underappreciated as well because it’s a daily practice. It’s not something you can point to as I first saw a T. rex at the cinema. Like, you know.

Amanda (17:21)
I think a lot of people are inspired by Jurassic Park because of the animatronic dinosaurs that are in the film and how they’re presented and

Like, don’t get me wrong, obviously I’m influenced by that too, but I really found my love of Jurassic Park from the artwork. So the main guy who created what the dinosaurs were going to look like, his name is Mark Crash McCreery. And his artwork to me was astonishing. There was something so realistic about it, but yet otherworldly.

that I found was very different from what you would see in books or with toys. And that’s kind of where my art journey with drawing prehistoric creatures came from, was from him. And I would copy his work that he did on Jurassic Park and take that and then eventually started reading more about his process and using grid papers and measurements.

Travis (18:12)
Mm -hmm.

Amanda (18:29)
as like a 10 year old kid, try and emulate that style.

Travis (18:32)
Yeah, the work that Crash did and various other artists, you know, it’s not something that appears on screen, but the visual language flows through very much. The work that they did shapes how the film is remembered. The dinosaur designs as well, but also the motifs, the colors they use on the gates and on the cars and everything else, all of those really iconic moments.

from the film are shaped by that artwork. Yeah, so.

Amanda (19:05)
Yeah, that’s something that doesn’t get talked enough about, I think, is that the visual side of Jurassic Park, but like you say, what the colors and the vibe.

Travis (19:09)

Yeah, bringing that color into the jungle environment was really important. Like the color of the vehicles was such as was a real strong standout of the film as well. So, okay. So I’m getting a much deeper sense now of your influences, which I really, really like. So what are some of your favorite subjects to draw or to produce in your art then?

Amanda (19:37)
I’m going to go ahead and close the video.

like to find weird behaviors. If that makes sense. Things that you don’t see often. That’s where I really try and look. So whether it’s, you know, a curious expression or maybe a theropod doing something other than eating something.

Travis (19:47)

Amanda (20:09)
I’d just like to find the misrepresented things, I guess.

Travis (20:13)
Like Megalosaurus wearing a party hat. There’s no evidence, no evidence it didn’t happen.

Amanda (20:18)
Like Megalosaurus wearing a party hat.

Hey, you never know. Maybe he made a little hat out of the sticks.

Travis (20:25)
We are referring of course to your recent post for for the 200th anniversary of the discovery or the scientific description of Megalosaurus. So Do you have any specific paleo art projects that you can point to and say that was one of the favorite things that I’ve done or do you love them all equally?

Amanda (20:32)


Uh, well, yes and no. I think right now, um, I actually have it sitting next to me so I could show it to you. This is something that I have been wanting to make for many years. I tried to get the science center I was working at to let me do it and it just never ended up happening. So with this art show that I have coming up, like, you know what?

Travis (20:55)
Yeah, if you’re…

Amanda (21:16)
I’m going to make my Meganura. So Meganura, if you don’t know, is a ginormous dragonfly, for lack of a better word. They’re actually called griffinflies. They’re a little bit different than modern dragonflies. But I made a life -sized one, which as a bug lover, even kind of freaked me out. So here she is.

Travis (21:36)
Oh wow, that is an impressive piece of work.

Amanda (21:40)
So that’s kind of what she looks like.

Travis (21:43)
What media did you use?

Amanda (21:52)
A lot. So mostly the inner parts like the legs and the the vating and the wings, this is all wire. And then there’s a wire that goes through its body. And then in there is paper and tinfoil and tape. And then on top of that is where I use clay to form kind of the outer part. And then the eyes are actually made from glass.

Travis (21:57)
Mm -hmm.

Oh, wow.

Amanda (22:18)
Yeah. And the wings are cellophane. So they’re an iridescent cellophane.

Travis (22:22)
That’s lovely. As you’re showing it to me, I’m thinking through how do I build this in Lego at that size and that scale?

Amanda (22:26)

Oh my god, yes! I’ve seen those Lego sculptures that have been kind of floating around the internet. Oh my god, please.

Travis (22:35)

I’m gonna have to do that. I have a Lego show in in three weeks that wasn’t on the schedule, but maybe.

Yeah, just, you know, a bunch of people who build stuff in Lego get together and charge $10 for entry and then hand the money over to charities usually. So, uh, yeah, it’s a, it’s a fun, just a fun thing we do. Um, lots of, yeah, they’re all over the place, but, uh, in the state where I live, uh, there are four, four big ones that, that we go to on a regular basis and lots of, lots of smaller ones. So yeah.

Amanda (22:49)
Lego show.

That’s amazing!

Oh wow.

Travis (23:18)

Amanda (23:19)
That’s cool. I didn’t even know that existed, so that’s pretty cool.

Travis (23:20)
Yeah, definitely does. And you can always find, you can always find, there’s always dinosaur or prehistoric builds, often Jurassic, Jurassic park or Jurassic world builds. So yeah, because nerds have these intersecting group of interests that always, you know, and you’ll get different combinations between different nerds basically.

Amanda (23:34)
That’s cool. That’s cool.

Yeah, no, you’re not wrong with that. And it it’s funny because this this combination of dinosaurs and bugs is something that comes up a lot. And I’ve been trying to figure it out. Why these two things are always together or often together, I should say. And I don’t know why.

Travis (24:07)
You could always just work on, on, I, I, you could always just work primarily on the extinct bugs. One of my guests, Alyssa recently, you know, that’s what, that’s what she’s interested in is the extinct arthropods. So, and, you know, I opened by saying, well, tell me about the weird bugs.

Amanda (24:22)


I know I’ve listened to her interview with you and then also on Adele’s podcast the Pals in Palaeo podcast Just fascinated by her work on Trilobites

Travis (24:28)


okay, I want to be a paleo artist because you had a bit of a winding pathway, right? And often I hear this with paleo artists is they did something else often.

Amanda (24:43)

Travis (24:45)
Often something, you know, you said law and you kind of rolled your eyes as you said that, but often that kind of thing will happen. Maybe someone said, this is a good idea. This is a stable career. And you suddenly go, no, I don’t want any of that. This is what I’m going to do instead. Yeah.

Amanda (24:57)

Yeah, yeah, that happens a lot. I think especially to women too. We’re not, we weren’t as accepted in science as we are now. You know, that is changing, which is nice. But when I was a kid, it was still very much the old man with the beard and the hat, like, love you, Robert Bakker but.

Travis (25:27)
that’s why he was so easy to parody as a paleontologist in the Lost World. So.

Amanda (25:37)

Travis (25:37)
So what tips would you have for somebody looking to get in today or is it too much to presume that anybody’s journey could be laid out?

Amanda (25:54)
I think you can lay it out. I used to think that I would have my life planned and I would go from point A to B to C to D, but it doesn’t really work like that. I think especially in creative careers, you kind of have to just take what you can get sometimes. And I think that’s a big tip I would have for people is even if you want to focus on paleo art, let’s say,

Take other things, do other things, because all of the little bits that you’ll learn along the way will help you with your paleo art. So we use comparative anatomy a lot. So looking at extant animals like birds and reptiles and using that as inspiration for our extinct animals. So if…

If you do things like draw and paint people or draw and paint other animals, that’s going to help you learn anatomy and physiology. And then that’s going to help you understand the broken pieces of the anatomy and physiology that we have in the fossil record. So do all the things.

Travis (27:03)
Yeah, I think that’s a really important tip actually that it takes a long time to realize for people studying or learning something, the bigger picture, right? It’s easy to start with those little bits, but if you never start with the little bits, you never get to the bigger picture, even though it takes a long time to start to see the connections, to realize really how all tetrapods have effectively similar.

similar bodies, you know, and so if you draw humans, you’re still learning, still learning those skills, still learning how muscle sits on bone and hair and…

Amanda (27:40)
You’re gonna, yeah, exactly. You’re gonna learn what a radius and an ulna is. You’re gonna learn about a femur. You’re gonna learn what a phalange is.

Travis (27:47)

already talked about Jurassic Park, so maybe leave that one aside, but do you have any other favourite books or movies or TV shows that have really inspired you through your career?

Amanda (28:03)
The Land Before Time is definitely another one. I know, it probably comes up all the time, but you can’t deny it! It’s so good! It’s so good. And then, what else do I have?

Travis (28:03)


Amanda (28:17)
Oh, I’m going to show this. So if you want to get into paleo art, there’s this lovely book.

Travis (28:22)
highly artist’s handbook, yep.

Amanda (28:24)
Yeah, so I don’t know if you can get it online anymore. I’ve had this for a while now. I know Mark is really great. And if you find him on the internet and ask him, I’m sure he’d be down to send you a copy. So that is definitely a book I recommend.

that’s an art book.

So Elaine Howard is a, she’s American and she wrote this book called Passion and the Bones, which is all about her journey into paleontology and how important it is to never give up on your dreams and to follow your dreams. And for me that really,

inspired me a lot over the last year or two. Just with the stuff that has been going on in this world right now, just kind of keeping that focus, right?

even though I’m not part of a traditional institution at this point It’s still my passion and it’s still what I do and it’s still what I love so I needed that reminder and I think that that’s really good for Negative mindsets, I guess

Travis (29:31)

Yeah, that’s great. That’s a good book. I’ll make sure I recommend it to, I’ll make sure I recommend a good book recommendation, one for me to pick up and I’ll put it in the show notes is what I’m trying to say. Do you think there’s some ethical issues floating around in paleo art at the moment? Now, obviously maybe not, but you know, are there challenges? I’ve seen, you know, debates around what we include in paleo art or…

separating the art from the artists sometimes. So are there any kind of issues floating around that you could put your finger on and say this is a challenge for the sort of paleo art community at the moment?

Amanda (30:11)
step up.

Yeah, there’s a few challenges. Copyright seems to be an issue with people using skeletal drawings, say by Scott Hartman. He’s probably your top tier skeletal guy. So people will take his drawings of those skeletons and just put stuff on top and not say where they got the original material from.

So that’s a bit of a thing, right? You should always say where you got your material from, especially if you’re just copying and pasting something. So cite your artists if you use them. I think the biggest struggle that I kind of see popping up is if you’re not a realism artist,

A lot of people might get put off and say that your artwork isn’t palaeo art. That palaeo art is only supposed to be scientific, completely accurate representation of these animals.

Travis (31:16)
I’ve seen some comments around that kind of thing, but also, you know, I recently took a course that really focused on drawing, which was something that I have to admit really put me off because I’ve never been much of a drawer. But, you know, they were pointing out that actually the point of doing drawings is not to necessarily…

just capture everything accurately, but actually to highlight the interesting things and that’s the advantage of art over taking photos. Obviously you can’t take a photo of a T. rex but you can take a photo of their bones or you can take a photo of rocks or whatever it happens to be. But that’s not necessarily going to highlight the things that are worth highlighting or drawing out the details that are worth, you know, representing. So.

Amanda (32:09)
Yeah, exactly. We call those gesture drawings. So it’s when you’ll take something and draw it very quickly. So I’ve had to do 30 seconds a minute, which is not a lot of time. And all you’re trying to do is get the action of the thing that you’re trying to draw. It’s the movement. Because a static picture isn’t going to inspire someone very much.

Travis (32:11)
Mm -hmm.

Amanda (32:38)
unless it’s just meant to be that if it’s meant to be for a scientific article, let’s say, and you just want that portrait shot, but most of the time you’re gonna want some sort of action in your artwork.

We’re trying to help people understand the science and to get people interested in this science. And if you see a brightly colored peacock looking T. rex, you know, you’re, you’re going to look at it if you’ve never seen something like that before. And then you can use it and be like, Hey, T. rex probably didn’t quite look like a peacock.

Travis (33:12)
Right, but perhaps it was also, you know, not just mud brown uniformly all over. So, yeah. So you open up that opportunity

actually have a conversation with somebody at that point.

Amanda (33:22)

Travis (33:27)
I guess one other concern that

Amanda (33:28)
Mm -hmm.

I don’t know how much you know about the research that’s been done with colouration in dinosaurs. Yeah, so.

Travis (33:32)
Mm -hmm. Yeah, looking at the melanosomes and all that sort of stuff. Yeah.

Amanda (33:39)
Yeah, yeah, so that’s that’s fun. It’s it’s fun to watch people’s reactions. When you tell them that we actually have some scientific knowledge on what they might have looked like, because so often people think that paleo artists just make this up. It’s just some sort of magical mystical thing in our heads. Oh, there’s there’s basis in reality here.

Travis (33:54)

So yeah, there has been a lot of research around coloration lately. Do you think that starts to inhibit or is it just another, you know, creative framework, I guess, or creative constraint that you can work with and within?

Amanda (34:20)
It starts, it’s a starting point, I think, because there’s certain colors that are not going to preserve in that fossil record. They just don’t last millions of years. So of course we’re going to have things like blacks and browns and rusty colors be preserved because they’re the strongest color molecules, let’s say. So use that as your starting point and build on top of it.

Let’s say the Triceratops, for example, they’ve done scans of the frills of Triceratops and see that there’s major blood vessels that are going through these frills, and they may have been able to pump blood up through those frills to brighten their colors during, say, mating seasons, where the males are fighting or they’re trying to attract females. Well, use that. You know, birds do it too, right?

Travis (35:15)
Yeah, so all of those kinds of, well, that’s really different lines of evidence in the science coming together there. And it can create different opportunities for artists to, as you say, to use that to play with what is known and build on top of it in creative ways.

Amanda (35:34)
Yeah, and I think that us as creatives too can also inspire science. And I think that’s something people forget about a lot. So for example, I haven’t done this piece yet, but it’s floating around in my head. I’ve been thinking about bioluminescence and ocean creatures and all this jazz. And we don’t see it that often in paleo art. Recently, you’ve been seeing a little bit more with the ammonites.

that people will make them bioluminescent. But I’m thinking about things like ichthyosaurs and mosasaurs. Do these animals have any sort of capability of creating luminescence? Whether it’s bioluminescence, say like a jellyfish has, or another type of luminescence that’s a byproduct of something. So for example, scorpions. Scorpions luminesce under UV light.

And we think that that’s just simply a byproduct of another chemical that they have. And it’s the same thing with pigeons have this, some sharks, and platypus.

Travis (36:42)
Yeah, I was just going to say I’ve seen research about platypus and thylacine. Both have some bioluminescence. Yeah, yeah.

Amanda (36:51)
I haven’t read anything from the Thylacine. Oh, that’s cool.

Travis (36:53)
So, and what’s really interesting, right, is this shows that humans are really limited. We think we’re the kings of the jungle, but we’re really limited in what we can actually see out there in the world. Because, yeah.

Amanda (37:08)

My biggest pet peeve. It’s my biggest pet peeve. We’re soft little mushy blobs. And our vision spectrum is so narrow. So if we think about that too, why wouldn’t dinosaurs have things like luminescence, have weird colors that we can’t see?

You know, like birds can see in crazy spectrums, bugs see in crazy spectrums, what a flower looks like to a bee looks completely different to our eyes. So as an artist, you have creative ability to put those in your artwork and say, hey, maybe.

Travis (37:37)
Mm -hmm.


You got me thinking about bioluminescence in, you know, ichthyosaurs now. And even aside from, even aside from the animals themselves, I can imagine them sort of moving through waves with the bioluminescent plankton. So yeah, yeah, yeah. Like dolphins do exactly. Or, you know, you see it breaking on the shore and the plankton are glowing. I think that would be…

Amanda (38:01)
It’s like my thing.

Like dolphins.


Travis (38:23)
Yeah, that’s another really, I’m sure somebody’s done it. I’m to have to go and I have to search it up now, but that sounds like a really cool piece of paleo art as well. So.

There has been a… There has been a… You know, one of the problems, I guess, with Jurassic Park is the directly incorrect presentations of certain animals. But there has been, within some of the more recent media, bioluminescent animals created. So in Jurassic World Evolution 2, the video game, there’s…

Amanda (38:32)
If not, I claim it.


Travis (38:59)
a range of bioluminescent dinosaurs now. And…

Amanda (39:06)
Yeah, didn’t they have the Parasaurolophus right?

Travis (39:07)
Yeah, and in in Camp Cretaceous they

Amanda (39:14)
Yeah, that’s right. Yeah.

Yeah, I haven’t played it. I’ve only seen pictures of the game. So I have a really old PlayStation. Like I have a PS3. So.

Travis (39:35)

Thank you so much. This has been a really fascinating conversation. Your paleo art is magnificent and your bug art is magnificent. It gives a new opportunity for appreciation of those animals as well. So yeah, keep at it. And thanks for the chat.

Amanda (39:49)
Thank you.

what I aim for.

Thank you. Yeah, thank you for having me. This has been a lot of fun. And I’m excited to see the other people that you’re going to have on here too.

Travis (40:04)
Check out Amanda’s work on Instagram @Perryology101. That’s at P -E -R -R -Y -O -L -O -G -Y 101 on Instagram.

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